Rob’s review published on Letterboxd:
(Note: First, watched the black and white version, which is the way to watch this movie. It's a riff on Night of The Living Dead, so you should see it that way. I HAVE SPOKEN.
Second: Added a star on rewatch)
This is Frank Darabont's best work I've seen, and I'll fight any man what says different. But then again, I love Night of The Living Dead, and think Andy Dufresne was so guilty Manson looked askance at him in the prison shower.
Just like NotLD, this is almost a perfect horror story. There are monsters outside and they might get in. People from different backgrounds are trapped inside, and Darabont established that being neighbors doesn't mean they're on the same side. The danger inside is as bad as the danger outside. And not every ending is a happy one.
This even has some Dawn of The Dead in it; if you're gonna be trapped in an apocalypse, is there anywhere better than a fully stocked supermarket? But it won't save you from the dickhead next to you when he's scared and thinks it's him or you. Hunter Thompson said you're a whole different person when you're scared, and that could be the entire theme of this movie.
This thing is tightly plotted: hey everyone in the store, show the threat, show what happens when you try to escape, show the risks of staying put, keep ratcheting up the tension, hit the breaking point.
(By the way, that gag with the rope around the biker? Pure low-budget filmmaking gold.)
Course, then we go to the pharmacy, and this is a Stephen King story, so there are spiders, so in this apocalypse, I'm checking right the fuck out. Then again, when they get back to the supermarket, it's suddenly a fanatic-fueled megachurch screaming for blood, so maybe the best bet is to just hole up with the cigarette display, go full non-filtered, and take the coward's way out.
Or shoot the screeching Jesus bitch, that works too.
And then there's that ending. This movie's more than ten years old, but I still don't want to spoil it. Let's just say I'll bet George Romero was proud, if not maybe a little jealous.
I picked this up on DVD when it came out, watched it drunk and liked it. This is probably the first time I've seen it in ten or eleven years, and it is one hell of a lot better than I remember. If you're a fan of Romero zombie flicks and you haven't seen The Mist, you're doing yourself a SERIOUS disservice.
tl;dr: When the apocalypse hits, taze the lawyers and the Jesus people first and as often as necessary. I think that's in the Bible. And then STAY THE FUCK PUT.
P.S.: Thomas Jane should have been Rick in The Walking Dead.